Commentary: ‘The best of times… worst of times’

Commentary: ‘The best of times… worst of times’
April 13
12:00 2017

As I end my long “80-year” tenure in the newspaper business (that’s what it seems like) even though it’s been only 43 years, I must say, as I usually do, “It is the best of times and it is the worst of times.”

That is how Charles Dickens described the period during the French revolution in the 19th century. I often reflect on his description of the conditions of society then because it fits very well with our society today. The world today as it always has been, can, in my opinion, be described as being absolutely controlled and dictated by the ruling rich class of our society who, in fact, believe that they are somehow ordained by our Creator to take care of the underclass because we are “incapable” of taking care of our-selves. It is that group who controls every aspect of our lives who will tell you that feeding the poor only hurts them instead of easing the pangs of hunger.

It is that very group who insists on raising your taxes yet pay none themselves. It is this privileged group who will describe your pain and tell you that you are only hurting yourself seeking to be free of aristocratic rule.

I love Charles Dickens’ novel because not only was he of lower class, as was stated, but that he was also a journalist. He was able to see the contradictions of society in the 1900s that exist to this day.

Let’s take for instance, if a business is owned by a black person, most will call it a “black business.” While businesses that are owned by white people are never termed “white business.” I contend that the ruling class has always had ways and codes to keep free men and women separated by class and color. It is demonic in nature because it always implies sub-standard and therefore not to be taken seriously or supported financially.

I said all of that to say that I was really astonished when I read in the local general market daily newspaper (some might call it the “white” daily) that The Chronicle was a “black” newspaper. Clearly a “code” to its followers.

I thought, “What makes a local community newspaper that covers the entire community – black, white, Hispanic, Greek, – “black?” My conclusion was that you could not say that judging by The Chronicle’s coverage, so it had to be determined by the color of its owners. Have we not gotten past that yet? What diffeence does it make?

Some would say the reason is because The Chronicle is a respected institution in our black community, and after 43 years, will continue to be so. If people want to know what black people are thinking, feeling or talking about here in the city/county, they’ve come to expect to read about it in The Chronicle. They expect this newspaper to be their voice, to represent.

But our faithful readers also know that’s not all we’ve proudly done. Based on the very diverse members of the community who both read , and are in our paper, they’ve always found news of particular interest to them in our pages.

For that long record of community service, we should all be proud. But it’s also high time that we, as a people, hang our hats on not just who we are, but what we’ve done that has earned the respect of the total community, not just our own. Because in the final analysis, good is good, and great is great, no matter what the color.

Michael Jordan is not the greatest black player ever in the NBA. He IS the greatest … PERIOD!

Barack Obama was, yes, the first black president of our nation. But history will soon revere him as being one of the best US presidents in history PERIOD, thanks to his saving the economy, implementing affordable health care for all Americans, and ensuring that the civil rights of every citizen was protected.

And former First Lady Michelle Obama has been an inspiration to women all over the world, speaking out on issues of health, equality and education. Can anyone reasonably deny this?

As people of African heritage, naturally we have unique pride in these, and other special people in our community. But we’ve also come to realize the ruling class feels free to call the rest of us “black” because they don’t see our community, or RESPECT our community, the same way, no matter what the rest of us accomplish. That’s the problem.

In thinking about what I had read in the “white” daily, which, by the way, is owned by multi-millionaire Mr. Warren Buffett, I could only conclude that it was the purpose of the writer to make sure that his readers were made very much aware of the “black” fact so that every negative stereotype could be used, and his readers were reminded of the product’s perceived inferiority, etc.

It was interesting to me because as a credentialed journalist, publisher and entrepreneur, what was going through my mind was not a dying newspaper industry, as the columnist suggested, implying that something’s got to go and is going and it shouldn’t be your “white” daily that does. Well, bad news for that columnist – only dailies are suffering because of your past and continued arrogance about your value. Quick question: What happened to radio in the ’50’s when television became the gadget of choice? The prediction then was … goodbye, radio. WRONG. The environment only changed. Some were ready, understood it, and made adjustments. Most didn’t.

Newspapers, per se, aren’t going anywhere, only the dailies like what we have here because they neither understand the community-change, nor what their local communities want.

The Chronicle does…and, we’ll continue to give you what a diverse, integrated society wants, and needs. Let the clueless dailies continue to try and feed you the worthless pabulum they choose to give their followers.

And remember, as you judge the politicians who will own this business shortly, Steve Neal, our 5th district congressman for years, also owned a community weekly newspaper…”The Suburbanite.” I don’t ever recall him having the issues that are being thrown at these gentlemen today.

As I drift into the winter of my years and career, I wish Brothers Taylor and Montgomery “the best of times.” Let it be the worst of times for those who benefitted from most of our pain…black, white and others outside of the ruling class.

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